Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Next time you raise a glass - drink to our landowners and farmers

We have been frightfully lucky in this corner of the UK and dodged the worst of this winter's storms so far. Nonetheless the ground is wet. It is softer than a brush that has been soaked in "Comfort" and some other packs have had to cancel meets but the EKHwWS has such cracking landowners that not only do they ply us with strong drink and super sausage rolls but they allow us to hunt trails across their drenched land - what a set of heroes!

On the subject of heroes, we are all aware of the devastation that has been wrought in the north country - stock drowned despite the very best efforts of farmers and shepherds; bridges collapsed; roads washed away; winter forage destroyed by inundation. How can we help? There are three groups that deserve our support and who accept donations in money or in kind:

Forage Aid - pledge money, forage or transport - this is a group of farmers who appreciate the heartbreak of the situation in the north. Website HERE

Team Rubicon - ex-service personnel bringing their extraordinary skills into the areas devastated by floods - people who have served, not a few injured or crippled who are given a sense of purpose as they help those whose lives have been affected by the floods.  Their website is HERE

Khalsa Aid - a brilliant Sikh organisation that did a huge amount of work on the Somerset levels and are still there. They were in Cumbria while it was still raining the first time. These people are terrific.  Website HERE

Back to the day! What a super meet - our hosts not only provided much of the day's country but also gave us all a most generous meet! Luckily it is not possible to manage a camera and a very (VERY) large drink with only two hands so some of the pictures are not blurred!

With the first trail laid from the Alders, hounds had to work hard in the wind and the sodden conditions but then on the escarpment they picked up one of our trails and sang briefly.

Thankfully, at the end of the day, there was expert advice on horsemanship to analyse the jumping styles through the day - the conclusion? At present one experienced mounted follower is offering sufficient monies to keep this a secret!

Also at the end of the day was splendid "tea" - thank you "M".

The Stern

  • What/who was at the end of yesterday's rainbow?
  • Who was nearly caught out "making use of the back of the truck" by an off-road motorcycle club?
These and many more may be found at The Gather's NEW gallery pages - HERE - all of the images have now uploaded.

. . .  and, as ever, a cracking hunt tea when we meet in this part of the country .

Saturday, 26 December 2015

The Boxing Day Meet - a great Christmas tradition

What an ordinary and extraordinary meet!

The ordinary was the wonderful level of support that turns out to Elham Square on Boxing Days: ordinary but special. At least 500 - 600 supporters in the Square and another 100 - 200 on the High Street.

The ordinary was also the small group of "protestors" who gather each year: ordinary and in their own way special. That is not being used as a pejorative. It does take a special sort of conviction to turn out knowing that you will be outnumbered 20 or 30 to 1 even when you know that the crowd of supporters will do nothing to stop your protest other than, by weight of numbers, cheer mores loudly than you can boo.

Now for the extraordinary! Three of the protestors were, in fact a band, namely Rudy Warman and The Heavy Weather. and they were, to be fair, rather good! The sentiment of one of their songs did not appeal to the majority of their audience and part of the sentiment expressed in the introduction to others would not have met widespread acclaim in that company. However, their presence that was maybe intended to drown out the Master's address, added a certain party atmosphere and demonstrated a splendid sense of humour and attention too planning that really ought to be applauded. Once hounds, the Huntsman, Whippers-in, Masters and 30+ mounted followers had left the Square a number of hunt supporters gathered around the band and some were even seen to gyrate in time to the music! That is, of course, once the ringing in the ears from the huge cheer of support for the East Kent Hunt with West Street had ceased. Well done chaps - excellent and extraordinary. For those who wish to listen to them, their YouTube Channel is HERE. Some were so impressed that they suggested booking them for next year's Hunt Ball! Not sure that they'd take the gig.

Out into the country. For the first part of the day hounds struggled to own the trails but the ladies and gentlemen had some fun over the grass and jumps. Well one or two of the ladies and gentlemen may not recall their encounters with jumps as fun: no names: no pack drill!  We do have the photographs  though and are prepared to sell them to the highest bidder 

The Stern

Which visiting freelance asked The Gather:
"So the Masters call for hounds, the Huntsman blows his horn and leads them out of the Square. When do the, what do you call them? You know! The Beater-Upperers leave?"
"Do you mean the Whippers-In?"
"Yes, that's it."
Oh the power of malinformation - does the fellow hang out with Tracey Crouch or Brian May?

Want did Locksmith get for Christmas?


These and many more may be found at The Gather's page - click HERE

Gallery complete! 8 hours to upload! (Maybe Tracey Crouch could concern herself with rural broadband speeds instead of voicing opinions about something of which she knows very little?)

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Too wet to hunt so we went to the sea!!!!

It has been dreary, it has been wet and our landowners have been and will be wonderful but for various reasons today was cancelled so we met!

We met on Margate beach for a jolly without hounds. Not the shimmering sands of August at Sandwich Bay but great craic, good support and the next best thing to following hounds. 


Clicking on an image gives access to a larger version.
These and many more may be found at:
  • The Gather's Field Sports page - HERE

Sunday, 20 December 2015

"I think there are some you need to delete!"

There is always something special about the Saturday meet before Christmas - terrific hosts, thank you, a super stretch of country and a crowd that includes faces old and new.

With hounds working trails in woodland, across the plough and stretches of old grass there is something for everyone, including a range of jumps  to make access easier for staff and entertain the ladies and gentlemen. Those same jumps provide entertainment for the footies too with some spectacular displays of horsemanship!

While not strictly so this meet feels like the halfway point of the season and it is a real pleasure to see how well hounds are responding to the new team. There is a revived sense of purpose  - well done to S and team.

Apologies for the delayed report - running at half strength yesterday and a sudden spate of last minute picture-framing jobs before Christmas.

The Stern
  • Who said, "I think there are some you need to delete"? (Not sure if this was an opinion, an assertion or a command!)
  • Who managed a whole sausage roll?
  • Who joined the Tumblers' Club?
  • Has anyone ever been sent home for photographing two Masters?

Clicking on an image gives access to a larger version.
These and many more may be found at:
  • The Gather's Field Sports page - HERE 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Somebody is probably still eating at the Meet.

A famously generous meet (thank you the CH family) brought a large crowd of supporters who enjoyed endless food and bottomless glasses. It is symptomatic of great hosts that they remember exactly where they met you and find a reason to thank you - that's the old-school way!

Now, with some "schools out for hunting" (sorry Alice Cooper) several youngsters had joined the field. These youngsters will be the spline of hunting in the future - we can only hope that they live on into a world where they are not restricted to trails and the nonsense of the iniquitous Hunting Act.

The Stern

Who said:

  • "I've been learning for 55 years and still can't get it right"?
  • "If I knew I was going to live this long I'd have taken better care of myself"? It was his birthday!


  • Invented the kissing bridge? (Did s/he know the difference between a lure and allure?) Pictures to follow!!
  • Is carving a role as "hunt dresser"?


Clicking on an image gives access to a larger version.
These and many more may be found at:
  • The Gather's Field Sports page - HERE (the gallery is now complete).



Wednesday, 9 December 2015

What a Meet - great, great hosts!

Having arrived early it was slow process as the mounted field arrived. Things looked thin at 10:30 but by 11:00 numbers had grown. A good-sized mounted mid-week field dragged themselves away from an always generous meet at about 11:20 and went in pursuit of trails. The going was "heavy to soft" and spray followed most of the mounted field once they had left a trot. Our landowners and farmers are wonderful folk for allowing us to follow trails across their land!

Thank you to the foot-followers (one of whom was unable to follow) for your "cap".

The Stern

Who expressed "disappointment" at missing one of the photographers "stripping off"? It was a "revenge" comment!


Clicking on an image gives access to a larger version.
These and many more may be found at:
  • The Gather's Field Sports page - HERE (the gallery will not be complete until Thursday evening) and at 
  • Combat Moose Photography HERE

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